Avaya claims it has turned the iPhone into a viable business tool by porting its one-X Mobile client onto it. The software will turn an iPhone into a "personal remote control for enterprise comms", the company said, with conference calling, call transfer, shortcode dialling, and calls routed through the corporate PBX.

Users will also be able to set call handling rules based on factors such as their GPS location and the time of day, view corporate voicemail visually, and switch from iPhone to deskphone in mid-call at the press of a button.

The addition of iPhone support - one-X Mobile already supported Symbian, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry and Palm - reflects the trend for people to buy their own mobile devices and expect to be able to use them at work, while at the same time companies want to save cost by taking control of mobile phone usage in the office.

For example, IT security firm Safeboot recently surveyed 1,000 IT managers and discovered that half of them expected to face new data security problems in the New Year. That's thanks to employees bringing in the digital gadgets they found under the Christmas tree and connecting them to the network - even in organisations that ban the practice.

Avaya claimed the solution is to take control of the iPhone: "This will allow employees to add Apple's iconic device to their Christmas present wish-lists without fear of the IT department dismissing it as 'incompatible' with the business' IT systems and networks," it added.

However, while one-X Mobile for other devices is already shipping in the US, the iPhone version is not scheduled to arrive until early 2008, so IT managers can have a few more happy weeks of telling Apple fans they're incompatible.

Plus, Avaya said it has no plans to offer an iPhone equivalent of one-X Mobile Dual Mode, which is its voice over Wi-Fi software for Nokia's E-series handsets. So while companies could still win many of the benefits of unified communications, they won't be able to cut O2 out of the loop as much as they might like.